Marquette University’s Fall 2022 semester hasn’t gotten off to a good start.
Last Thursday, the Wisconsin Jesuit college hosted its inaugural Convocation ceremony. However, things went south when protestors commandeered the stage.
The interruption came courtesy of organizational alliance Students of Color for Change. The confederation — which included Caucasians — took to the stage with signs stating the following:
- More Than a Statistic
- We Have a Voice, Too
- Stronger Diverse Perspective
- We Are Not a Token
- Hire More Diversity
- Uplift Students of Color
Via a previous Instagram announcement’s caption, the Black Student Council (BSC) pegged what provoked the protest: Marquette had disbanded its Office of Engagement and Inclusion. Doing so without explanation was “unacceptable.”
More from WTMJ:
The BSC also said “it’s absurd” that the university’s Urban Scholars program has over 100 students — mostly students of color — but just one full-time staff member and no plans to hire another until 2023.
BSC’s online missive — addressed to the student body — decried a “lack of diversity and excessive tokenizing of students.”
And as it turns out, there is much oppression and underappreciation:
[W]e hope to bring to light the constant oppressions <sic> and hardships placed on students of color. We are constantly underappreciated, watched, socially abused, and forgotten by (the) administration.
It’s a phenomenon they will fight:
[T]oday, we will stand against this social phenomenon across this campus. So we encourage you to stand with us and forgo attending today’s Convocation. As a form of protest, against our administration and countless groups compliant [with] our oppressions <sic>.
The letter concluded with a quote attributed to Malcolm X:
“A new world order is in the making, and it is up to us to prepare ourselves that we may take our rightful place in it.”
One might’ve expected the disrupting students to be escorted from the stage. Instead, for roughly 10 minutes, the administration submitted. Finally, Provo and Vice President of Academic Affairs Kimo Ah Yun declared the ceremony would be postponed.
In the aftermath, Marquette issued a defense to Milwaukee’s Channel 4:
We are deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.
The school tried to win over justice-craving critics:
As a result of our ongoing efforts, 30% of our incoming first-year class identifies as students of color, which is an all-time high in student diversity. … Marquette has grown its Urban Scholars program for first-generation and financially disadvantaged students from the Milwaukee area, and has already committed to hiring another full-time staff person for the program in 2023.
And it turns out the office at issue hadn’t been closed; in fact, it’s a priority:
Marquette has not closed the Office of Engagement and Inclusion. Supporting the Office of Engagement and Inclusion and the Division of Student Affairs remains a priority as the university actively recruits to refill positions left open due to resignations. … These roles are expected to be filled this semester.
The Christian school agrees that people should be labeled as white or nonwhite:
Like his predecessors, the [Marquette University Student Government] president was invited to speak at today’s New Student Convocation because of his role as leader of the undergraduate student government. His claim that he was the only person of color slated to speak at today’s New Student Convocation is not correct. Both Provost Ah Yun and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Xavier Cole, who both identify as people of color, had speaking roles at today’s Convocation.
America has taken a stunning turn. Not long ago, society was aimed toward unprecedented unity. Surely few would’ve fathomed our institutions would decide it best to re-embrace the 1940s — and teach our children every person was either white or not.
That’s our contemporary path, particularly in education. Hence, it’s no surprise the protest at Marquette took place — courtesy of an organization whose defining trait is its acceptance of everyone but those who are light-shaded.
Meanwhile, according to campus newspaper Maquette Today, the Fall 2021 semester saw a nonwhite enrollment of 34 percent, “rising from 30 percent in Fall 2020.”
As for all the parents and relatives with their freshman children at Convocation, hopefully, they’ll find Ceremony Number Two to have been worth their doubled efforts.
Back to Malcolm X, might any of the protesters discover he denounced the very viewpoint they’re promoting? It might be a less-than-safe bet; learning from history doesn’t seem to be a modern-era endeavor.
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